Families in Kenya are living hand to mouth desperate to find money for food, selling anything they have to survive. Girls and women have been hit hardest, putting them at risk of exploitation. In 2022, 75% of students were young women, and 100 women have children. Several young girls are parents as the result of rape, others have been forced into marriages. Many have had to sell sex to survive, and have experienced drug/alcohol addiction and criminal activity. This is why the training offer at Seed of Hope has to be flexible to accommodate the experiences and challenges that young mothers face.
Sarah* (name changed) dropped out of school at 13, after her mother died. She was left to care for her 6 year old sister. Sarah was desperate, and at 14 she was forced to have sex for money and food to support herself and her sister. She fell pregnant and became a single mother, still relying on sex to survive. Through the money she made, she was able to educate her younger sister to secondary level – even though Sarah herself had never finished primary school.
Sarah joined Seed of Hope’s Motor Vehicle Mechanics course but she didn’t complete her first year. Her childcare responsibilities were too burdensome and she lost income by being at SOH, so could not afford to feed her child and younger sister. She dropped out and went back to the sex trade.
When colleagues at Seed of Hope met students like Sarah, unable to complete their first year because their childcare responsibilities were too great and they were losing income by studying, they were spurred into action. Teachers and leaders could not stand by and let this happen so they created a more comprehensive package of support for young mothers at high risk of dropping out.
Between January and June last year, 51 young mothers enrolled across all the Seed of Hope centres and none have dropped out.
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